A new theatre venue for families, children and young people in Darlington has welcomed another funding boost this week.

The Hullabaloo, a new theatre dedicated to audiences of children, young people and their families, has received a grant of £50,000 from the Gillian Dickinson Trust to fund its creative play space within the child-centred theatre.

The Gillian Dickinson Creative Play space will house mind-blowing creative play installations where leading artists will collaborate with local children to develop ideas for fully immersive, sensory play installations themed to the artistic programme. These will be free for families to play in when they visit the building and will support the development of harder-to-reach audiences.

Alexander Dickinson, Trustee of the Gillian Dickinson Trust, said: “The Gillian Dickinson Trust is delighted to be able to support Theatre Hullabaloo as it works to inspire children and young people from across the North East to play and learn. “It’s going to be inspiring to have the only specialist theatre of its kind north of London open in the region, with both the theatre and the creative play installations offering the whole community a very valuable resource. ”

Due to open in December this year, The Hullabaloo will be the only specialist theatre of its type north of London. The flagship venue, which is being built within an Edwardian Fire Station on a site next to Darlington’s Civic Theatre, will include a 150-seat studio theatre, café area, workshop/ rehearsal space, dressing rooms, toilets, external play space and the creative play installation space which will be funded by this grant.

Not just a theatre, The Hullabaloo as a national centre of excellence will also be an inspiring place to play and learn. As well as world-class performances for children, it will also house mind-blowing creative play installations and offer a wide range of creative opportunities and classes for families becoming a focal point for creative education in the region.

“We are delighted that the Gillian Dickinson Trust is supporting us in the development of The Hullabaloo and to be supporting such an integral space in the venue. The children that we consulted throughout the design process wanted play to be at the heart of the building, and so that is where we have placed the Gillian Dickinson Creative Play,” said Laura Case, Development Director at Theatre Hullabaloo. “The space will include a curated programme of exciting play installations created by leading artists, developed in a collaborative way with children. The artist-led Installations will create immersive experiences for children and families to access for free.”

The Hullabaloo is a partnership between Theatre Hullabaloo and Darlington Borough Council. The total cost for the capital development is £2.8m and is funded mainly through grants from Arts Council England and Darlington Borough Council.

Work began on site in June 2016 for an 18 month build period, alongside the restoration of Darlington Hippodrome and The Hullabaloo will open to the public on December 12, 2017. The first performance will be Bear and Butterfly, a Theatre Hullabaloo production, which is a charming tale of changing friendship for everyone aged 4 and above.

Theatre Hullabaloo is still actively fundraising in order to make the building itself everything we’ve dreamed of and still have more than £200,000 to raise. If you are a business or individual that would like to hear more about the Capital fundraising opportunities, please contact Laura Case, Development Director at Theatre Hullabaloo.

For more information visit www.theatrehullabaloo.org.uk

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